PORT ARTHUR, Texas — As the sun rose behind the glistening metal framework of an offshore oil platform, the top five teams fishing in Sunday's Oh Boy! Oberto Redfish Cup final pushed their boats away from the dock and looked southward. Twelve miles away, four of the five final teams would soon land at their favorite spot on the same 4-mile stretch of jetties which have produced the heaviest redfish throughout the tournament.
"We're slow-rolling a bass rig," said Florida's Tom Winrow, fishing for Team Hooters. With a Carolina-rigged presentation, the team hoped to continue hooking fat reds directly under their boat. A half-ounce weight, red bead and YUM Crawdad with Fishbites had given the Florida anglers the first position to launch on Day Three — and they had no plans to change now.
The father-and-son team of Kevin and "Cajun" Phil Broussard, the only non-Florida team in the bunch, weren't about to alter the pattern which had allowed them to fish on Sunday. The duo charted the same course for the marshes and backwaters proven to be so lucrative all week.
"With 18 and 16 pounds, we're going back," Kevin said. "But we just don't know what's left."
If the Broussards' prime spots prove lacking early, only then will they consider joining the four other teams on the jetties.
"We've been throwing MirrOLure She Dog topwater and following it up with Saltwater Assassin, drunk monkey in color, on an 1/8-ounce jighead," he said.
Back to the rocks again on Day Three, Team Under Armour's Paul Jueckstock and Manny Perez hoped crankbaits and jigheads would give them the Port Arthur title.
"It's all Lucky Craft crankbaits off the rocks through 3 to 15 feet of water," Perez said. "And we also toss Fin-Tech jigheads with Fishbites on them."
Kris Walter and Randy Hendrick pointed out the wind had died down on Day Three. Rigging crankbaits and Nuclear Chicken Berkley Gulp! with Fishbites, the anglers will fish a smaller spot on the jetties.
"I think we saved our 19-pound sack for today," Hendrick said, climbing into his boat.
Squeaking into the final spot on Sunday, Roland Martin and Steve Loyd hope they have what it takes to win the tournament: Both anglers believe their Rapala crankbaits could make their dream a reality on the jetties. A 30-foot diver for deeper water or a Bluegill Rapala bumped off rocks in 10-feet of water are the two chosen baits claimed by the Florida pros.
"The fishing is great here," Loyd said. "I think everyone will come in here with 15 pounds."